Poetry

Waking Dreams

Long had I dreamed
of sconces, candelabras blazing,
flames crackling
(whether in a fireplace or a public space I do not know),
fish gasping,
people writhing and moaning,
the terror of ecstasy,
adulation and ululation,
women undulating and slithering over me,
beautiful,
each bite a balm,
their balmy caresses,
whispered confessions of lust,
the small sigh of dropped clothes,
the nose knows the place so we dive in,
each leg a monument spread to reveal the oasis,
my tongue laps greedily,
I drink her up,
I want her soul,
long had I dreamed
of creaming so many pies,
this half-joke only half amuses,
and now I wake
to solitude.

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rambling

Contortion for Cash

Last week I answered a call that I never wanted to answer again. The name on this metaphoric caller ID? Capitalism.

To be frank, the last six months have taken something out of me. I got a pretty hefty paycheck in the middle of January, thanks to my working ridiculous hours during the holidays, and things were looking good. Then I contracted COVID-19, and I sat in my room for two weeks, and I made no money. My chunk of change was shrinking, but I went back to work in the beginning of February. Sadly, I let things go from there. Despite avoiding food delivery the first two years of the pandemic, I obsessed over DoorDash after I suffered COVID; maybe I just didn’t want to get the virus again, or maybe I didn’t want to expend any more effort than I needed to in order to get food.

So instead of expending effort, I expended money. A lot of it.

I’ve written about my struggles with DoorDash, and I think it’s no lie to say that I was legitimately addicted to the service for a few months. My money was running out faster and faster, when BAM – my tax return came through right before March. I’d also contracted myself out as a dog-watcher for the parents of a friend, and they paid quite well. With the tax return and the dog-watching money combined, I had a big-ass chunk of change just sitting in my bank account. At least, I would have had a big-ass chunk of change, only …

I bought a used car right before the dog-watching gig.

And I kept ordering Doordash.

And I really like this very particular gacha game.

So my bank account experienced all manner of ups and downs throughout the spring. I always managed to keep myself afloat, but the summer has pushed me closer to the red than I like to be. Within the past three months, I’ve traveled to two weddings, and while that may not sound expensive to some people, for a part-time worker like myself, two distant weddings can add up. I pride myself on my ability to withstand a certain amount of financial whiplash, but the last wedding almost pushed me down to overdraft territory.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m hung up on the weddings for some reason, but my troubles go beyond two fun-yet-pricy adventures. I’m making car payments, and paying a little more for car insurance than I used to, and I had to register the damn car, and I hate – hate hate hate – working more than twenty hours a week. Call me what you will, but I’m firmly of the belief that human beings can’t stay productive beyond the four or five-hour mark; if a person works longer than that, their brain gets mushy and they can’t focus very well. Researchers keep concluding, despite the late-stage capitalist machine, that we’re not made to push ourselves to some ridiculous “full-time” work schedule. I’ve adopted some radical beliefs: I believe everyone should work no more than twenty hours a week, and I think the “work week” should only be four days long. That’s four days of work, five hours a day, for twenty hours total.

I realize all sorts of problems crop up at this point, mostly because, within the current culture and system we’ve created/allowed to continue, no one makes enough money to survive on just twenty hours a week. Well, some people do, but they’re the exceptions to shitty capitalist rules.

I know I sound like a conspiracy theorist, but these shitty conditions are exactly where the powers-that-be want us workers to be. Struggling, barely able to survive, holding onto whatever job(s) add up to forty or more working hours a week, and feeling too tired and messed up to go out and enjoy what little free time we have. This reasoning is why I try my damnedest to avoid working more than twenty hours a week – but oh, my bank account!

As I said in the beginning of this ramble, I answered the frightening call of capitalism. I was talking with my supervisor last week, before she left on vacation, and she mentioned the work that would carry our team to the end of the year. She said she’d need someone building some new stuff, forty hours a week. I said “Hey, you know that’s kinda my area, I could build our new stuff full-time.”

She looked at me funny, because she knows how I feel about coercive capitalist tactics. She knows I don’t actually want to work forty hours a week. And I was screaming at myself internally, because I’m pretty sure I don’t want to work forty hours a week …

But I said I would. So I started practicing: eight hours a day, for a few days. Just to remember what it’s like. By the time my weekend was over, I was still tired and fucked up. My time to rest felt so short. I went in on Monday, managed to stay relatively busy for eight hours, then returned home to crash. I slept in on Tuesday (yesterday), and, feeling a little ill, I texted my co-worker to let her know I wouldn’t make it in. I took it easy yesterday, but I still managed to stay up really late, and I slept in again today (Wednesday). Despite feeling mostly recovered, I decided to stay home again. The bulk of the stuff I need to finish by the end of the week won’t actually happen until Thursday and Friday anyway, so I can get away with my loose approach here.

And that’s my beautiful struggle: I’m a big fan of making things up as I go along, working only when I feel like it, and taking a lot of time to rest and recharge. I’m privileged that I can usually afford to do so, and this new push to work “full-time” is some half-assed attempt to fit myself into the mold that capitalism forces on us.

I hate the capitalist mold. But I did the math, and if I can manage to increase my hours from twenty to thirty-two a week, I’ll have so much extra money.

And despite the coercion inherent in capitalism, I gotta survive and enjoy myself in the shitty process. So for now, I’ll take the damn money. I’ll seethe at the system all the while, and think of ways around it, but I’ll work for that money too.

Fuck. Who have I become?

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Poetry

An Angsty Rumination on Loneliness in Two Parts

Part I: Decay

Women in water,
women in fabric,
people in water,
people with no dicks,
people with tight flesh,
people with holes,
people who dance around numerous poles,
put them in water,
out in the sun,
watch them get tan,
let them have fun,
pay for the pictures,
like, comment, subscribe,
go to bed alone and wonder why.

Part II: Hope

I’m not having sex ’cause I’m a fucking mess;
don’t take care of myself,
barely there for my friends.
Bank account almost empty,
willpower’s the same;
boobs and food (and improv song lyrics)
are all that’s left in my brain.
I’m hungry. I’m horny. I’m funny.
(I’m boring.)

I’m hungry. I’m horny. I’m horny. I’m horny.

When’s the last time I was nice to someone else?
(Don’t be so hard on yourself.)

When’s the last time I tried something new
(without anyone’s help)?

Lost. Stagnant. Tired.
Not alone.
Still …
not alone.

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rambling

The Sun After a Storm

I live in the high desert, where humidity is almost always 0%. In the winter, if we’re lucky, it snows and the snowpack provides us with water for the coming months. In the summer, if we’re even luckier, it rains; those are my favorite times. I’ve had that one Sting song stuck in my head, off and on, for years now: you know, the one where the chorus goes “And I miss you like the deserts miss the rain”? I think that’s how it goes. Anyway, deserts do miss a lot of rain, and that means desert rats like myself miss rain too. So when the clouds darken and thunder rumbles, I get giddy.

It’s happening right now, on this day, the 4th of August in the year 2022. It also happened yesterday, but today’s rainfall has been stronger and more consistent. I was lucky enough to step outside and feel the rain kiss my clothes. I never wear a hat or use an umbrella when it rains; I want to feel the miracle seep into me.

I remember a blustery fall evening over ten years ago, when the air was shedding its summer heat and the sky started to darken. I’d recently quit a shitty mall job and I had a decent number of games downloaded to my Xbox 360. Halloween was approaching, and my annual tradition of playing a Castlevania game during spooky season was just beginning. The dark skies, the rumbling storm, the uncertainty of what happens next, these factors all converged to make that night stand out in my memory banks. What looked like a dark night of the soul was actually a distant lantern at midnight, cutting through shadows and beckoning me onward. I could do anything. I was rudderless, but I could swim and I was free.

It’s not spooky season yet, but the rain reminds me of that night; I want to play Castlevania and relax. Lately, I don’t enjoy my job all that much; as many people say, it pays the bills. When that’s all a job does, work loses what little luster it had. I’m going to keep working because I need the money, but I’m thinking of detaching my rudder in a storm again. Of jumping out in the darkness and looking for any lamplight. It’s raining and things are generally spooky, but as I and the Belmonts know, these are the perfect times for adventure.

Maybe this time, instead of running to the nearest safe space, I’ll make my own lantern and hold out ’til morning.

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rambling

Fever Daydreams

It was a few nights ago, or maybe I should say mornings ‘cause I don’t go to bed until the sun’s crawling over the mountains. Anyway, my head rested on my pillow but I couldn’t get comfortable, until I hopped out of bed, turned my light on, and grabbed my journal. I didn’t put on my glasses but I didn’t feel the need; I scribbled furiously, letting my thoughts out until I felt okay again. I put the journal back in its spot on the shelf and finally fell asleep. My ramblings are nearly incoherent, but I want to present them as they are, garbled and raw and weird. I don’t think I say anything poignant here; I just had to jot stuff down. I used to write in my journal a lot more often. I should go back to basics.

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Poetry

Things I Say During My Commute

The speed limit’s 45, you rat bastard.

Nice turn signal, jackass (there was no turn signal).

There goes the Jesus Cruiser (a PT Cruiser with Christian stickers on the back).

Whoa, how’d I speed up so much?

That one’s gotta go.

Are they on a 30-minute lunch, Jesus!

Slow down.

Damn it, slow down.

Jerkbag.

Asshole.

Dumbass.

Every day we do this.

This is killing the planet.

Get me outta here.

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Poetry

The Mustache Will Stay

Why do I need to do this
I say to myself as I move the razor
over cheeks flecked with stubble,
my shallow neckbeard
evaporating under the heat of the blades.

I am not
“professional,”
nor do I see people
as often as I used to.
I run my fingers through longish
lank hair,
and I admit
I do look a little better
with a clean face.

And when I pull
my hair back a bit,
I see how a haircut would look,
and it’s not bad.
It fits
the standards of the day: short,
simple, and clean.

Okay, you got me:
I feel a little better
after cleaning up a bit.
I push myself into the outline they made.
My outside looks enough to fool them.
My thoughts, though … I won’t cut those to fit.

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